Somehow it’s always in the wee hours that my mind starts really going. While I sit snacking on cold spaghetti and watching “Who’s the Boss” in the living room, friends snore comfortably in the two adjoining rooms of this newly-acquired Chennai flat. Maybe it’s because I’ve recently filtered through all of my contacts, having discovered a shocking mass of them when I switched to a new phone a few days ago. Maybe it’s the too-cute 35 second clip my sister-in-law just posted of my baby niece, far away back home, rolling over with her mother’s encouragement in the background. …It’s the little things. But then, when it comes to people, it often is.
I haven’t been around all that long; last week marked the successful completion of a brief 22 years. In that time – the past few especially – what strikes me most are the people. That ever-growing list of contacts that has collected itself on my shiny new phone.
Pennsylvania, DC, Ghana, Denmark, India, and everywhere in between. The ones I’ve had the pleasure of knowing through thick and thin, and the ones I wish I knew better. The ones I know I’ll see for years to come, and the ones I’ll likely never see again. The ones I haven’t seen or talked to in ages, but could never forget…. They’re all there, floating around back here in the slightly misty chasm that is my head late at night.
Too many words, stories, and memories are floating around back there as well; it’s difficult to get a grip on them all and pull them down to the ground, line them up. They’re simply not meant to be lined. The connections with these people certainly aren’t neatly aligned. We’ve met in the most dull, bizarre, exciting, and awkward of moments. We’ve shared, given, and received words of happiness and pain, times of care and of frustration. Some of those times we’d give anything to relive, and some we might prefer to forget. Each of those people are there, though, and each with a story (several with innumerable stories).
My mind almost reels as it goes through the vast mental rolodex, spending plenty of time on some cards and carefully talking myself into putting aside others. Even those few that are set to the side, though, probably won’t be there for long until my subconscious comes by and picks them up again – my streak of OCD cleaning generally applies to people, too. I’m absolutely terrible at just setting them aside and leaving them there.
In less than a month, it will be time to pack my bags and head out – for now. I don’t make a habit of sticking around one place for terribly long (always recalling a friend’s “vision in passing” comment), but I have a feeling I’ll soon be back to this one. And either way, the people back home, here, and in between seem to follow me from place to place, whether any of us realize it at the time or not…